SI Vault
 
EVENTS & DISCOVERIES
September 17, 1956
CAN MANTLE BREAK GUETTLER'S RECORD?, A CONNOISSEUR'S UMPIRE, TENNIS FOR THE RUSSIANS, GOLF WITHOUT CLUBS, THE PANGUINGUE PLAYER OF THE IBC, VISIT TO A SHIP IN ITS GRAVE
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
September 17, 1956

Events & Discoveries

CAN MANTLE BREAK GUETTLER'S RECORD?, A CONNOISSEUR'S UMPIRE, TENNIS FOR THE RUSSIANS, GOLF WITHOUT CLUBS, THE PANGUINGUE PLAYER OF THE IBC, VISIT TO A SHIP IN ITS GRAVE

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2 3 4 5

To play panguingue requires some heavy shuffling, for it uses eight decks of cards from which only the 8s, 9s and 10s have been removed. Sometimes, to liven things up a bit, extra 3s, 5s and 7s of spades are added to the mess. The 3s, 5s and 7s of any suit are voile (value) cards and pay one chip to the holder, but spades pay two chips. That is to say, the holder of a valle combination collects one or two chips from each of the other players. There were nine others caught in the raid with Issy, so it must have been quite a game.

Panguingue has some of the fascinations of rummy in that the players try to form certain combinations or sets of not less than three cards. Its history is obscure, but presumably it entered the United States from Mexico. Conquian has long been played in southern border states and in the panguingue form eventually made its way to Chicago, where Issy found it.

DEATH AND TRANSFIGURATION

The literature of the seas is linked to technology and the two change together, so that Ulysses and Ahab and Queeg, meeting across the centuries, would understand each other's doings as men but not as ships' captains. Men recently discovered that the surface of the ocean itself is a frontier and (with the help of technology) crossed it to explore a new world of beauty and danger. From this world comes the newest kind of writing about the sea.

An expedition of trained divers set out not long ago to find the sunken liner Andrea Doria where it lies in the Atlantic and to explore its rooms and passages. The buoy which had marked the ship was gone, and for many miles the water was equally strewn with oil slicks and debris. After days of search the men located the wreck from the air by picking out an oil slick whose form showed that it was not drifting at random, but was fed by the invisible ship.

They worked at depths from 185 to 220 feet, where nitrogen narcosis, which resembles drunkenness, affected their minds and where their oxygen supply was good for only 10 or 15 minutes. Keeping always in pairs, they made photographs, explored some of the ship's interior and brought back a few curious souvenirs. The whole story is told in LIFE this week by one of the magazine's editors, Kenneth MacLeish, who was also one of the divers. Here is a brief sample, taken from MacLeish's story, of the new literature of the sea:

"At first [the diver] moves through a zone of pale water, warm to the touch, in which many jellyfish drift. The light is almost that of day. But as he drives downward the light fades swiftly. At 50 feet the water turns sharply colder. The fragile creatures of the sunlit levels vanish. There is no more motion, no color but a deep blue-green.

"It is at this level that the diver enters that peculiar realm which gives ocean diving its most stirring quality—and, to some, its terror. Here there is neither surface nor bottom. The earth-ling diver, accustomed to living in a place of planes and surfaces, becomes [as a fellow-diver put it] 'the center of a sphere bounded by the limits of his vision.' Free of gravity, he can move freely in three dimensions. Only the reassuring roughness of the descent line in his hands and the graceful plumes of bubbles from the men below give him spatial reference.

"The metallic gasping of his air regulator echoes in his ears. The luminous dial of his depth indicator reads 100 feet, then 130, then 150. The sound of his regulator grows shrill under the mounting pressure and his air bubbles tinkle like small glass balls. His watch shows him that he is 45 seconds down. And now his probing eyes sight a vague white expanse. He leaves the descent line, angles down to the wreck and takes hold of her....

"The ship seems immense, resembling a sunken city rather than a vehicle. She is forbidding and austere. But she is also pathetic and full of a loneliness that chills the diver's heart. ('She's not pretty any more. It's sad to see her.') Her ports are clean and unbroken, their brass rims bright, but they are dark and lifeless. Behind them, in the glare of the diver's light, drowned curtains and mattresses and elegant furniture float in strange suspension.

Continue Story
1 2 3 4 5